Analysts have long criticized the European Union’s lack of local tech behemoths, citing the disparity between the EU and competitors such as the United States and China. The EU, on the other hand, appears to be increasing its spending on breakthrough technologies. The European Investment Fund (EIF), the EU agency in charge of SME finance, recently announced its support for new digital assets and blockchain fund.
Fabric Ventures, a Luxembourg-based venture capital firm that invests in digital assets, tokenization projects, and other blockchain-related ventures, has received $30 million from the EIF for its 2021 fund.
Executives from Ethereum, PayPal, (Transfer)Wise, Square, Google, Galaxy Digital, PayU, Ledger, and others are among the other high-profile investors. The EIF’s engagement, however, is seen as a significant indication by the fund’s creators that the EU may be pursuing a new, strategic approach to innovation investments.
Richard Muirhead, Max Mersch, and Anil Hansjee, the latter of whom led PayPal Ventures EMEA for five years, are among the Fabric Ventures team. The trio previously created the Firestartr fund, which was supported by Bitstamp, Tray.io, Railsback, and others and focused on digital currencies, decentralized governance, and market infrastructure.
Leaving aside whether one agrees with Murihead’s assessment of the US and China’s policies, he believes the EU is developing a “third way for the person,” attempting to harness new technologies that can promote “networks and marketplaces” amongst people who share data for their own and mutual gain.
According to Fabric Ventures, the network capitalization of Bitcoin (BTC) and Ether (ETH) surpassed $1 trillion in less than ten years, thanks to famous names like Goldman Sachs, PayPal, and Tesla. Under the banners of “open web” and “open finance,” the fund seeks to invest in a variety of software tokens, decentralized networks, and applications, as well as traditional equity.
EIF CEO Alain Godard stated in an official statement about the EIF’s decision to support the fund that the partnership aims to address the financial support needs of startups and entrepreneurs working in the field of blockchain, which he described as “of particular strategic importance for the EU and our competitiveness on the global stage”.
Parallel to this recognition of the digital economy’s growing importance, the European Commission is taking steps to enhance its anti-money laundering (AML) system and establish a new AML oversight agency, which has ramifications for the crypto area. According to recently released papers from the European Commission, the current lack of regulation of crypto asset transfers in the EU is exposing crypto investors to money laundering and terrorism financing dangers.
The Commission has also released a proposal titled Markets in Crypto-Assets, which aims to establish a complete regulatory framework for the industry.